Playing System Balance

A team's playing system balance refers to the tactical balance in the team's playing system in each positional area.

It is important for a team to achieve a good playing system balance in order for it to effectively achieve each of its tactical objectives in each positional area. A team should therefore distribute playing positions appropriately and take on appropriate levels of tactical risk in its relative use of each playing method between players.

A team can do this by assigning tactical roles that result in appropriate tactical structures, an appropriate responsibility distribution and appropriate mentality systems.

Tactical Structures

A team’s tactical structure in a particular positional area is an arrangement formed in that positional area by the typical positioning of the team’s players.

Two particular types of tactical structures are positional structures and attacking structures.

A team's positional structures determine its formation.

An analysis of a team’s tactical structures can show whether the team’s playing system enables it to retain compactness effectively.

Positional Structures

Positional structures are tactical structures formed by a team’s tactical shape, before the effects of player movement.

An analysis of a team's positional structures is particularly useful for assessing whether the team retains compactness effectively in the defensive phases and during attacking transition.

Formations

A team's formation is the combination of its positional structures in all positional areas. It provides the structural basis of the team's playing system.

Attacking Structures

Attacking structures are tactical structures formed by a team’s attacking shape, off the ball movement and on the ball movement. A team has separate attacking structures for when each individual player is on the ball that take into account the nature of each player’s individual on the ball movement.

An analysis of a team's attacking structures is particularly useful for assessing whether the team retains compactness effectively in the attacking phase, and whether the nature of its compactness in the attacking phase enables it to create space, penetrate space and retain solidity effectively.

Responsibility Distribution

A team's responsibility distribution refers to its assignment of positional responsibilities through its assignment of tactical roles.

Role Categories

Tactical roles can be grouped into various role categories that can be used to analyse responsibility distribution.

A role category is a group of theoretical tactical roles that share a similar role specialisation. Types of role categories include primary role categories and secondary role categories.

A primary role category is a role category that is typically used by a team for at least one player in order to achieve an appropriate responsibility distribution, as per the analysis in the Positional Responsibilities and Responsibility Distribution guides. A secondary role category is a role category that may be used by a team for an alternative purpose, such as to help to implement a particular playing style.

Mentality Systems

A mentality system is a part of a playing system that relates only to attacking mentality or defensive mentality playing methods along with any other particular group of playing methods.

A team implements its mentality systems by incorporating them into the tactical roles of its players using tactical instructions as appropriate.

Notable mentality systems include vertical movement systems and passing range systems.

Vertical Movement Systems

A team's vertical movement system is a mentality system that relates to attacking mentality and off the ball directness attacking methods.

Passing Range Systems

A team's passing range system is a mentality system that relates to attacking mentality and passing range attacking methods.